I’m really looking forward to sharing my love of all things horticultural in such a spectacular location! This trip is packed with visits to some of Europe’s finest gardens and it will be a great pleasure to explore them in beautiful springtimeCharlie Dimmock
Dutch gardens in spring with Charlie Dimmock
It's every garden lover's dream to see technicolor tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in full bloom. The gardens of Holland and Belgium in spring are some of the most stunning in the world, so we've created this inspiring seven-day European river cruise on board the 4-star MS Serenity, for woman&home readers to enjoy them.
You'll visit the fabulous Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland - known as the "Garden of Europe" - where more than seven million bulbs are planted each year across 80 acres, flowering spectacularly between March and May; the National Botanic Garden of Belgium at Meise, laid out in the grounds of Bouchout Castle and boasting more than 18,000 species of plants; and the famous annual Floralia Flower Show, where more than 500 varieties of flowers are on display in the grounds of Chateau de Grand-Bigard.
One of the UK's favourite gardeners, Charlie Dimmock, will be on board to give you a series of entertaining and informative talks. She'll also accompany you on tours of these four iconic gardens - a must for all plant lovers.
There'll also be plenty of free time to explore and take excursions to the charming cities of Amsterdam and Antwerp, plus visit the iconic UNESCO-listed windmills at Kinderdijk.
Don't miss this chance to witness one of the world's most impressive horticultural spectacles and celebrate the joy of spring in style.
Six reasons to set sail
1 Aalsmeer Flower Auction
2 Talks from Charlie Dimmock
3 Excellent value river cruise
4 Kinderdijk windmills
5 Keukenhof Gardens with Charlie Dimmock
6 Plenty of free time to explore
Your expert guides
- Two talks by Charlie Dimmock with Q&A sessions
- Six-night cruise on a full-board basis
- Excursions in the company of Charlie Dimmock to: Appeltern Gardens; Floralia Spring Flower Show; National Botanic Garden of Belgium & the Plant Palace; Keukenhof Gardens
- Services of a River Cruise Line Cruise Manager
- Your choice of three travel options:
- BY COACH:
- Coach travel to the port from your local area
- Return ferry crossing from Dover or Hull (the latter includes overnight ferry crossings with cabin accommodation)
- BY RAIL:
- Travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras
- Connecting rail journeys
- Coach transfers between station and ship
- BY AIR:
- Return flights from Heathrow, Manchester or Aberdeen. Prices of flights are subject to change and availability and will be confirmed at the time of booking
- Coach transfers between airport and ship
Day1Arrive in AmsterdamAmsterdam, Netherlands
THURSDAY 3 MAY, 2018
You'll travel to Amsterdam and enjoy a relaxing evening on board your ship for the next six nights, MS Serenity.
Day2Aalsmeer Flower AuctionAalsmeer, Netherlands
FRIDAY 4TH MAY, 2018
You'll set off early this morning (armed with a packed breakfast) for an optional excursion to the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, where you will experience the hustle and bustle of the auction oor and marvel at the stunning owers traded in Aalsmeer from more than 10 different countries.
Later today you can join another optional excursion where you will discover the best views Amsterdam has to offer on a cruise around the city's famous canals.
Day3Kinderdijk & Appeltern GardensDordrecht, Netherlands
SATURDAY 5TH MAY, 2018
This morning our journey reaches Kinderdijk, renowned for its 19 beautifully preserved, UNESCO-listed windmills.
An optional excursion allows you to visit two of these iconic mills, where you will learn about the lifestyle of a miller and the mechanism of a mill, before continuing your river cruise to Dordrecht.
Next you will enjoy an included excursion to Appeltern Gardens, home to 200 model gardens exploding with colour, with Charlie Dimmock. After this tour, you will start cruising towards Belgium.
Day4Antwerp & FloraliaAntwerpen, Belgium
SUNDAY 6TH MAY, 2018
After breakfast, you'll depart by coach to Floralia, the spring ower show held in the grounds of Château de Grand-Bigard. Here you can wander among more than a million bulbs and admire the glasshouse exhibits with Charlie Dimmock.
You'll have the rest of the day free to explore pretty, historic Antwerp, and enjoy a talk from Charlie Dimmock.
Day5Antwerp & MeiseAntwerpen, Belgium
MONDAY 7TH MAY, 2018
Today you'll visit another must-see garden with Charlie Dimmock: Meise, the National Botanic Garden of Belgium and the Plant Palace.
Later today your river cruise continues as you set o for Rotterdam, and enjoy a Q&A with Charlie Dimmock.
Day6Rotterdam & Keukenhof GardensRotterdam, Netherlands
TUESDAY 8TH MAY, 2018
After breakfast your coach departs on an included trip with Charlie Dimmock to see the stunning floral displays of Keukenhof Gardens, where more than seven million bulbs are on show.
You can explore the pathways that surround shimmering lakes, ancient trees and wonderful works of art. This evening you will start the river cruise journey back to Amsterdam.
Day7Goodbye to AmsterdamAmsterdam, Netherlands
WEDNESDAY 9TH MAY, 2018
After breakfast, you'll bid farewell to MS Serenity before you travel home with fantastic photographs - and some inspiring ideas for your own garden!
This four-star river cruise ship offers guests space, style and outstanding service
With her sleek design and claret and cream exterior, the ms Serenity makes an immediate impact and it's this first impression that stays with you throughout.
On arrival you are introduced to the captain and his crew over a welcome drink, after which you can make yourself at home. The cabins are what make this ship stand out, and it's a lovely place to start each day, in your own private space that looks out across the river.
You can then head to the panoramic restaurant, which ensures you miss none of the scenery during breakfast, lunch and dinner - all of which are freshly prepared by the onboard chefs. After a day of exploring, take a seat on the terrace of the Lido bar where the waiter will serve your favourite drink, or head up to the sun deck and challenge each other to a game of giant chess before enjoying the evening entertainment.
And when you retire to your cabin, you can take a look at the daily programme and look forward to what the following day will bring.
- Lounge bar with panoramic windows
- Lido bar with outdoor terrace
- Restaurant with panoramic windows
- Sun deck with loungers and awnings
- Air conditioned cabins
- Gift shop
- Lift serving all areas (except Sun deck)
Panorama deck cabins: These cabins are of the highest standard. They are on the upper deck and have an en suite shower and toilet, air conditioning, twin beds, satellite TV, radio, safe and hairdryer. There's plenty of storage space and they boast excellent views of the river with a french balcony.
Middle deck cabins: These cabins are on the middle deck and are the same size and layout as the panorama deck cabins. They have an en suite shower and toilet, air conditioning, twin beds, satellite TV, radio, safe, hairdryer and large sliding windows for you to enjoy the passing scenery.
Main deck cabins: These cabins are on the lower deck and are the same size and layout as the panorama deck cabins, with the same facilities. The only difference is the outside view, which is via two small windows.